Knowing your life purpose makes life more meaningful and fulfilling. It gives you the “Why” to look forward to in your day, in your work and in your life overall. Knowing your true values can point you in the direction of your purpose, they underpin meaning. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the nightmare of the “routine” – Wake up, go to work, come home, eat, take care of “stuff”, go to sleep…repeat. How dull. How painful! Life is meant to be an adventure of growth and learning, not clinging to a mediocre life and then you die. How sad. Thank goodness for the power of choice, the power to change. While change can feel scary and uncomfortable, it is what adds spice to life. Besides, that – it’s unavoidable!
So why do we so often fall into miserable ruts and get stuck, yet are afraid of “change”? A huge part of it is conditioning. Sure, there is the element of “danger” in the unknown, but Mother Nature has given us the tools to cope and innovate. Our brain is amazingly adaptable and it is leads us to “self-fulfilling prophecy”. This is part of the problem – we believe change is scary and hard, so “be it unto you as you believe”. We have trained our brain to focus on what we don’t want and fear…and we sometimes find get it.
Happiness is a perception that is subject to how one sees life, how one interprets their circumstances. Brain research essentially shows we create our “reality” by assigning the meaning to our lives. Research shows that our ability to create and manage positive emotions is one of the foundations for success (and happiness) in business and life.
Whether or not we are happy is often not so much about what we do or how much money or associations we have as it is about the level of self-awareness we have to engage our mind and heart in our activity. While there are studies that connect happiness with better health, meaningful relationships and meaningful work – the key is “meaningful”. What does it mean to you?
Judging how materialistic our society is and how little attention is given by our educational system to develop the unique talents and interests of individuals, we still believe that happiness is outside of ourselves. We continue to “look for love in all the wrong places”. We still believe that we can “do” happiness, or “get” happiness through more “stuff”.
Business and material “success” does not necessarily make us happy. If it did, Americans should be some of the happiest people in the world. Polls have actually shown quite the contrary and we have frighteningly high rates of depression, obesity, debt and disease despite high-income levels. The answer lies in realizing that the path to happiness is an inner journey.
It’s not that having things is bad; it just that when we associate our identity with them, they have us – we get stuck.
When we can truly love and compassionately accept who we are, independently of what we “do” then we can “be” more joyful and fulfilled as we do our work in the world. The happier and more at peace that we are, the more likely we will be prosperous and healthy. Our choices are more likely to be done with clarity and with less effort and “hard work” (“hard” is mostly due to resistance, versus “flow”). When we recognize that our minds are conditioned to focus on what we fear or don’t want, we can learn to “retrain our brain” to change our focus of attention.2
…I change my mind. Seasons change. And you have a birthright and choice to change yours too when it is expedient to do so. It’s not about what you believe as “right or wrong” as much as is it expanding your sense of “self-actualization” (as Maslow would have said) compassion, love, purpose and meaning – for yourself and those you interact with.
Does it expand your light and your vision for your life or does it keep you in the darkness of fear?
Beliefs are simply thoughts with feelings that get wired into our body/mind and color our perception of our self and our life. Then they become our habits and habits can create “blind spots” – even “cataracts of the soul”. (Must be the eye surgeon in me). These are misperceptions that can keep you from seeing your true potential. As Warren Buffet is to have said:
“The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”
Habitual ways of thinking can make or break your business endeavors, your personal and business relationships, your influence and even your health. Fortunately, habits can be broken easier when you are more self-aware. You are not just a victim of circumstances. No, your circumstances are the result of your true beliefs, i.e., the way that you think and feel.
We are conditioned to believe (there’s that word again) that we should never change our minds – that just because we were “raised that way”, we have to cling on to the beliefs and values of others, even though it doesn’t feel authentic. This will keep you from being, “YOU, Magnificently”. You are created with a particular purpose and uniqueness that no one can fully replicate. If you are able to let go of the beliefs that keep you imprisoned in your mind, you will be able to bring forth your gifts and talents that are meant to impact your world, maybe even “The World” in a highly visible and public way. Both ways are important to the whole of humanity. No one is insignificant.
Innovation, setting goals, creating a new vision…. these are things that we on the surface say we want in both business and life. Yet, in order to bring in something new, we need to update or even let go of the old. “Pack rats” have so much clutter because they don’t know how to let go.
Let’s get even closer to home…you may have a cluttered desk, closet – or mind – because you don’t understand the power of letting go. Life is in constant motion. Yet we fear change. Our emotions are in constant motion. Emotion is “energy in motion”. Yet, we cling to our belief that we need to “control” or repress them.
Granted, we do need to understand how to manage change, emotion – and clutter – with wisdom. We can’t learn and apply more efficient ways of being in our lives as long as we cling to the past, to our old beliefs and memories. Science is even substantiating that our experiences, our “reality” is based on the meaning that we assign to the “facts of life”.
As we embark upon the New Year, understand that there is nothing “wrong” with you or your life. What you experience is just the outcome of a series of thoughts, feelings and actions. We generally get just what we have kept our attention on with feelings over the past days, weeks, months and years. In order to get to the next version of your self, your life, you will need to let go of some things. You will have to consciously choose different thoughts, feelings and actions to get a different outcome.0
Peace. I see holiday cards right now that say, “Peace” and “Joy” on them, yet I see people rushing about complaining that they are “overwhelmed”. I used to be one of them. These days, I’m giving my attention more and more to “why” I do what I do.
Have you ever stopped rushing around long enough to reflect on “why”? Do you slow down to contemplate, “Who do you think you are”?
Or are you still living by the definition that others assigned to you? Are you looking for more “to do” even though you have not mastered what is right in front of you? What are your heart-felt, five top values? Do you know? If you don’t, you are very likely not very passionate about what you do or about your life.
Like most people, you are probably just going through the motions, trying to keep from falling off the hamster wheel of life. Your mind is full of chatter and your heart is disconnected – and a “heartless mind” is no way to live. When we attach our sense of identity to things outside of our self, peace is always elusive. If we think we are our family heritage, money, fame, occupation or social status, we are always in a very precarious situation, as these things can shift overnight.
I was listening to a thought leader’s interview last night and she said she was disowned by her family for asking that her family’s assigned husband for her allow her to go to college. I’ve read articles of billionaires losing it all and then killing their whole family along with themselves – I’ve known personally millionaires who too have committed suicide after losing their money. I changed careers myself – I no longer perform eye surgery and I sold my business. Yet, what I did is not who I am. Life is full of change and unexpected events.0
Self-love gets a bum rap. Why? It’s because of the way that we define it as a culture and since “perception is reality”; we start to believe that this is “just the way life is”. I looked up the definition of “self-love” on Dictionary.com, and it is defined as:
1. the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage.
2. conceit; vanity.
I’m not sure who is behind determining this definition. I can say that when I think about what I was taught and what is a prevailing way of thinking about “self-love”, it is the norm. Yet, if when you become self-aware enough, you will begin to see how faulty this kind of thinking really is.
Narcissism and conceit come from a place of judgment, lack thinking and small mindedness. Only looking out for one’s own advantage is not only petty and greedy, it is based in fear and competition. This is not self-love.
As I look around our world, this type of thinking is what has created much of the mess in the world today. I say it stems not from “self-love” but insecurity, “not enoughness”. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, and we are not self-aware at a higher conscious level, the tendency based on our social conditioning is to judge self and others. Self-rejection puts us into self-protection mode. It becomes “all about us”. This is not self-love…notice, it comes via fear and self-rejection. If you think that the negative inner critic is good for your health and well being…think again. It has been associated in research studies with triggering your stress response. If you think that putting yourself down is protecting you from narcissism and conceit, think again. Selfish behavior and conceit is born from a need to feel “better than other”. It is simply a belief in the paradigm of, “survival of the fittest” – again, only one possible paradigm.
After all, if you are focused on externals as the gauge to your self-worth,
you have to find someone to feel better than.
Herein lies the root of the problem. We are constantly looking into our environment to define ourselves.
Likeability is good for your relationship health. I’m reading “The Likeability Factor” by Tim Sanders and he also gives lots of WIFFIM (What’s In It For Me) reasons why one should choose to be likeable. It will impact your health, wealth and relationships – the “big” three for most people.
I’m not finished with the book yet, so I can’t speak to all of his conclusions. I can say that he is witty, inspiring and gives practical tips to being more “likable”. Now I want to add something that occurs to me as I’m reading this enjoyable book.
I’ve been really focusing in “intention” lately. Like, “why” do I want to do what I do? I’m starting with “why” not only for my purpose and business platform, but also my “why” for my relationships in general. It occurs to me that a deeper intention for likeability is to first like yourself so that you are not trying to “get” people to like you.
Your relationship to “self” is your primary and most important relationship from which everything else in life flows. Have you ever wondered why so many people – most I dare say – are “trying” to be/get “liked”? It’s because we are so wired to look for love, security and self-esteem outside of our selves instead of first embracing who we are and coming from this space.
It occurs to me if we like/love ourselves first, we can simply share our enthusiasm for life with others
instead of trying to manipulate, control or “get” from someone else.
We can then simply be ourselves – magnificently! Just think, if we feel genuine appreciation, acceptance and compassion for ourselves (instead of beating ourselves up to “motivate” or feel “humble”) we will feel more confident and lovable. This will naturally lead to the charisma and radiance to attract others who will feel inspired to be near us. Also, and this is soooo important so pay attention – what you believe about yourself will form your perception and will project out onto others.3
Personal power is something that many people think they can “get” by controlling or manipulating others. Actually power comes from “being” personal power. It’s a quality of radiance. I would not call “power over” others, personal power. I see that as mere force, based in scarcity and fear mentality. Do you realize that “survival of the fittest” is really just a paradigm? Science already shows that there is no “objective” reality and Einstein said long ago “reality is an illusion; albeit a very persistent one”.
It’s persisted because we have very little if any awareness of how we are creating it via our perception. It is time for a more collaborative reality, one that encourages innovation and adaptability instead of encouraging competition and hoarding resources. Our feelings play a more powerful role in our experience of perception than mere thinking alone. In fact, the magnetic energy of feeling is about 5,000 times greater than thought. This is one reason why simply saying, “I think I can” without feeling you can, typically doesn’t yield the results you are after.
Personal power stems from joy, peace and a sense in spaciousness, expansiveness…. appreciation. When we appreciate:
- Our self
- Other people
- Our service to others
- The good in our life
- Our amazing universe
…. We feel more vitality, have more energy and we shine. We have more influence than when we do the opposite of this list. True personal power is about influence and inspiring others, not intimidating others. We can get more done with less effort. What keeps us from feeling good? What keeps our energy low and stuck? If I had to say one word, it would be “conditioning”.0
Greatness, magnificence, and brilliance – do you realize that these are words that really refer to your unique “Self”? Then why do we tend to feel sooooo uncomfortable applying these words to our self? For that matter, we tend to only apply them to other people, after they have died.
Van Gogh, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Joan of Arc – these people were geniuses in their specific ways of contribution, yet while they were alive, they were generally considered a bit nutty or a nuisance to the social order. Now dead, they are our heroes. If you stop and think about it, from the time we hit first grade, the social conditioning begins to dumb down our greatness and begins the nightmare into conformity.
As long as we have an outline for social law and order, what is so awful about being “different” from the next person? After all, it’s not rocket science – you are different. You don’t have to be an artistic genius or change the societal paradigm of the day to display your greatness. Everyone does not have a mission of this magnitude. What I am most interested in is that we as humanity begin to wake up to how self-destructive it is – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and mentally – to reject our self.
Self-rejection is at the root of stress, overwhelm, addictions, money trouble – both poverty and greed – poor relationships and it can even create disease in your body. Are children born rejecting themselves? Of course not, it is a learned way of perceiving ourselves. Our brilliant brain will record whatever you focus on with feeling long enough, or if you feel strongly about it enough it happens rapidly. It will not judge.
-What we truly belief about our self, life will reflect back to us in the Mirror of Life -Valencia Ray
Another way to say this:
Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself. ~James Allen
Your brain forms, “autobiographical memory” – the story of who you “think” you are. There are many reasons that contribute to our existing way of thinking of our self. What really matters though is that you realize that you can take responsibility – “response-ability”- for your life now, right now. You can begin to learn how to retrain your brain and release the cellular memory of who you “think you are”.6
Our life purpose platform needs to be built on a foundation built upon the rock of our truth, who we feel (with heart) we are, not just who we “think” (head) we are. Belief is based more in a sense of feeling, not thinking, actually.
I’ve discovered the hard way, that allowing society and others to set my priorities can be deadly for living with clarity, confidence and peace of mind. It also can swing you on both sides of the financial spectrum, for those of you who are money motivated and still believe that money is the golden formula for a happy life.
I’m all for wealth, as long as I don’t have to sell my soul – who I really am, what I came here to offer the world and the ability to live my life in joy (en-joy, get it?). Lots of money or lack of money cannot give me a joyful life in and of itself.
As I continue to expand my awareness, I’ve come to see that even if I know my purpose and mission, if I don’t have a clear vision for where I’m going and why I’m going there, I’m not likely to arrive to a fulfilling destination. I’d just be going nowhere – fast. All of this frantic doing I see and was doing myself all too often is the source of much stress, overwhelm and life dissatisfaction.
People still believe that “doing and getting” is the way to “being happy”. No, you have to “be” before you get to “have” in a way that becomes a lifestyle and is sustainable. This being said, vision is something I’m always up for improving. I was on purpose as an eye surgeon, now my purpose has just shifted. I’m still about “restoring sight to the blind”. The difference now though is “perceptual blindness” – cataracts of the soul that keep you from seeing who you really are.3